Showing posts with label Mystery Religions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mystery Religions. Show all posts

October 16, 2018

Zoroaster and Monotheism

As a kid, I liked watching Zoroaster, as portrayed by Guy Williams. He wore a mask, fought for justice in Spanish California, and slash a Z with his sword —

"No, Cowboy Bob! You're thinking of Zorro!"

Oh, right. I was wondering why he started a religion over yonder, in Persia and India.

Now it's time to stop playing with words and get serious. The history of Zoroaster (Zarathustra, and other names) is controversial, and is generally considered to have lived long before Jesus. Some two-bit tinhorns say that Christianity stole concepts from Zoroastrianism and Mithraism, but examinations of source documents show that such is not the case.

Zoroaster began a religion that has some similarities with Christianity.
Public domain image attributed to Clavis Artis,
an alchemy manuscript, via Wikimedia Commons
Zoroastrianism is considered monotheistic, but that is not entirely accurate because. They have a God, but also have an immortal counterpart for evil. Christianity does not have Satan as God's equal, but as a created being who turned evil and is defeated at the end. Their god, Ahura Mazda, was a creator, but there are very distinct differences between that creation account and the true creation found in Genesis.

Stories of the Genesis Flood that are spread all over the world and many still have elements of the true account, and people most likely carried some form of the narrative with them after the dispersal at Babel. Not only are people born with a knowledge that God exists, but I suspicion that some semblance of accounts of the one true God were dispersed as well. That may explain some similarities between religions. Also, it is likely that later versions of Mithraism and Zoroastrianism borrowed from Christianity.

Y'all might be wondering why I'm posting something about this obscure Eastern religion. One reason is to challenge the foolish claim that Christianity stole from Zoroastrianism. Another one is because the religion may seem obscure in the West, but is has very many adherents in India, Iran, and other places. Also, there are mixtures of cultural religions and Zoroastrianism, and even some modifications of Islam. Don't be surprised if those folks moving in next door have some shades of this religion. They need Jesus too.
The early history of Zoroastrianism is much in dispute. The religion was founded by Zoroaster, but it is not certain when he lived, where he lived or how much of later Zoroastrianism came from him. Tradition puts him in western Iran in the sixth century BC, a little earlier than the Buddha in India, but it is now thought that he lived in northeastern Iran, in the area on the borders of modern Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. An alternate theory dates him much earlier, somewhere from 1700 to 1500 BC, and places him in the plains of central Asia, perhaps before the first groups of Aryans moved south from the plains into Iran and India.
. . .
This religion obviously has aspects similar to Christianity and may have been influenced by events from Genesis forward as they were passed down from generation to generation.
. . .
Regardless, Zoroastrianism is considered one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions — the doctrine or belief that there is only one God. However, while Zoroastrians say they believe there is one supreme God whom they call Ahura Mazda, they also recognize another immortal deity, known as Angra Mainyu, who represents the epitome of evil. So using the traditional definition of monotheism, many religious scholars would say it is more accurate to describe this religion as polytheistic. 
As Christians, it is important to understand that when God created us in His image, He wrote monotheism into our “spiritual DNA.” In helping us to understand this reality, the Apostle Paul explains in the first two chapters of the book of Romans that the existence of only one true God is evident to everyone in one of two ways.
To read the rest (it's a bit long, but very interesting), click on "World Religions and Cults: Zoroastrianism".

August 6, 2011

That Old "Jesus Myth" Nonsense

Buon girono. Modern Bible critics are copy-n-paste masters. Unfortunately, they are unskilled at rational thought. (I was hit again with that ridiculous claim that Hitler was a Christian, which is easily disproved with a search. Here is just one of the links I found against that rubbish.) They will pool their ignorance at God-hating sites and forums, find someone that supports their biases and then spread the disinformation.

Frankly, I'm surprised that people still go after the "Jesus was a myth, copied from older myths" stuff. This was popularized in the Zeitgeist film, notorious for its outright falsehoods and lack of references. I don't see how anyone who claims to be "rational", "skeptical" and "a thinker" falls for that, except that they are blinded by their own hatred of God and Christians. That's right, I said it! If you have a better explanation, I'd be curious about it. But one thing is for sure, this recycled myth business is not based in historical fact. It is both sad and intellectually dishonest that people will add fabrications to the ancient stories.

Here is one article about how to think. The principles in this article should be helpful not only in dealing with this subject, but in examining other claims as well. Here is another article showing the flaws in the "ripping off the mystery religions" stuff. And an article about resurrection accounts in non-Christian religions. CARM has a good summary of the whole thing as well.

Something occurred to me. Christians should be skeptics as well. Quite a few of us are skeptical, wanting "chapter and verse" for not only spiritual claims, but for evidence. For instance, when someone passes along an e-mail that an atheist professor was humiliated when he said, "If there is a God, this chalk will not break", he lets go and it does not break — I check it out and see that it's spurious, so it doesn't leave my e-mail as a "fact". People passing along false information like the recycled myth idea make me think of those gullible people who pass along something sensationalistic because they want it to be true, and not because of any verification. Doing a copy-and-paste job from one uninformed hit piece and passing it along is not "research", capice?

Here is a video that will take you about six minutes. Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason discusses the logic required to believe the other accounts of "resurrection":

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